A serious accident leads to a lesson in perseverance for a terrier named Lucky and his human companion in Inglis’ uplifting children’s book. 

  The story begins with a lonely man who decides one day to adopt a dog. After considering which type of dog would best suit him, he settles on an energetic terrier pup that he names Lucky. The man takes Lucky on walks through the park and teaches him tricks, like how to roll over. The two quickly become best friends, and their happiness is apparent in the bright illustrations by Kinsey. But the illustration’s vivid green, blue and purple hues give way to gray when Lucky suddenly runs out into the street and is hit by a car. The man brings Lucky to an animal hospital where a doctor is able to save his life. But in order for him to live, the doctor must amputate one of Lucky’s legs. Afterward, the man tells Lucky, “I love you just as much as ever.” He reteaches Lucky all of the tricks he used to know, and before long they resume their old lives, happily going for walks in the park. Though the message is clear—with a little hard work and determination, we can all overcome obstacles—it comes through in the telling of the story rather than through showing. Readers are told that Lucky works hard, but the illustrations imply that his road to recovery is quick and easy. Even the very young readers that the book is aimed toward could benefit from seeing the new challenges facing Lucky after his accident and how he works to overcome them. Still, the message is an important one, and Inglis does a fine job of showing that happiness is possible even after the most serious of accidents. Lucky and the man (who remains nameless throughout the story) also demonstrate the importance of friendship and the power of unconditional love. Young readers will find the illustrations friendly and amusing. The bright pallet complements the sunny disposition of the main characters, and fun details (like the picture of a mouse on a flag above the animal hospital) invite readers in for a closer look.    A light-hearted tale that will inspire young readers not to give up when the going gets tough.          


Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1463777562

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2011

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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